In honor of the upcoming Valentine’s Day, I have decided to post a short. I thought about writing a fairy tale (one of my favorites since I was a young girl) or perhaps a lovely poem about cupidity and such, but none of those things felt right. I couldn’t get into the mindset.
As you all know, I am a proud mother to two young boys and I am married to the love of my life. I made the decision to tell you my true life love story. Here goes… happy reading. I want to dedicate this to the man that has remained by my side for the past eight, almost nine years. He loves me through all my ugliness, flaws, and imperfections. He sees my beauty, strength, perseverance, and passion. There were many times where we could have given up and went our separate ways, but we haven’t and won’t. Because true love stories never end.
So here’s to you, Domingo. My better half. I love you more than you will ever know.
It was just another muggy summer’s day in Southern Indiana. Mary was planning to meet up with her girlfriends and cousin at the river bottoms that Memorial Day weekend. She had just turned eighteen two weeks before, celebrating a little too much, and perhaps rebelling a bit as well getting her first tattoo along with a few piercings that would upset her mother deeply.
She was a lost soul with a good heart. Intelligence was an attribute that she possessed, however life had a way of making things difficult for her. Her heart craved to be loved and accepted, but she felt undeserving. So she went about life in limbo, working and spending the weekends the way most Midwestern teens do. She was trying to figure life out. But what did that really mean? Even she was unsure. She was just flying with the wind, hoping that a gust would soon take her somewhere new and exciting where things would be different.
Little did she know that a gust would soon take her away to a new place, perhaps better labeled a new chapter. It’s one of those tics that writes the script for years to come. Life hadn’t been easy for her, but who’s is really easy anyway? People have a funny way of interpreting others. They’re so quick to think that other individuals live through rose colored glasses. Trust that it isn’t the case, not at all.
She threw her dark hair into a messy ponytail, trying to tame the curly locks that erupted from the humidity. Mary then put on a white tank top and her favorite pair of jeans and pink flip flops, hopped into her red neon, and started her trek to the river bottoms.
Hours of laughs and shenanigans later, she was introduced to an older man (much older to her at the time, please note that a barely eighteen-year-old girl thinks twenty-four nearing twenty-five is old!)
Domingo, that is surely a name I would remember. Nope. Never met this guy. And he kinda seems like a jerk, she thought.
But she noticed his smile, his quiet charm, and his baby face. There was just something unexplainable that she felt that humid summer’s night. It was billowing in the air, but there were no words to describe it. How much does an eighteen-year-old girl really know about love anyway? Especially when she was given every reason to despise it.
The flirting continued, and she allowed herself to laugh, I mean a real and true laugh. It felt good to smile. She liked how she felt when she was with him. He didn’t talk much, but she was okay with that. He didn’t pester her with questions, he just let her be. That was something she was grateful for.
A moment as simple as that is when true love blossoms unknowingly. Two people’s paths crossing by fate, their stories written to intercede at the timing God wants. That is exactly what happened to Mary and Domingo. It wouldn’t be easy, no way. Life would throw them many wicked curves the years to come, but they were the perfect example of love conquering all.
They experienced heartbreak and loss. Heartbreak is a necessity to make true love last. Sometimes you have to lose something to realize just how important it is. That happened to both of them. There were many tears shed and Mary was certain that someone at the other side of the world could hear her heart shatter into a million pieces.
But those pieces would mend and make her heart stronger, for the love that she had for the man that saved her would supersede everything else. There wasn’t anything else to compare it to, there were no words, but all she could do was fight. So did he… He fought for her, because he knew she was the one.
Fast forward… Memorial Day weekend 2008 (three years after meeting for the first time).
Mary and Domingo sat at her parent’s house nursing Corona’s in the hot summer sun by her mother’s pool. Her family was around, laughing, listening to music, and soaking up the warm rays. Mary had just celebrated her twenty-first birthday and life finally seemed to be on track for her. She was in college, looking at graduating the following year and hoping to turn the page into the next phase of the relationship she shared with Domingo.
They already lived together, shared an amazing trip, and dealt with life all in the interim. They were happy, but Domingo being Domingo remained stubborn (please note that he had a tendency to be more strong-willed than Mary). They had discussed engagement before, but never anything seriously. Sure, they looked at rings together, but once she found the perfect one, he said no.
Mary decided to let it be. Little did she know, that day was another (and one of many) that would change her life interminably. The sun was soon to set and she noticed that Domingo had gone off with her older (and very protective brother). Hmmm, she wondered. What are they doing? (He was asking her older brother, John, permission to have his baby sister’s hand in marriage. John was a father-figure to Mary, walking her down the aisle and giving her away on her wedding day).
She dismissed it as the party was wrapping up. Domingo was an anxious mess, fidgeting with his hands and trying to rush Mary away from the gathering.
So she obliged and hopped into his huge Cadillac Escalade.
“Where are you going? You’re supposed to turn right?” she said.
“I know. I thought we could go up to the church.”
Mary’s heart sank. The church. That was her safe place, but most of all, that is where her grandparents were buried. They were dear to her heart and taken away a few years before. The thought of seeing their graves made tears prick behind her bright brown eyes. It was bittersweet. That country church nestled above a hill held memories close to Mary’s heart. It was the place where she grew up, and she always felt at peace there. Domingo knew how special it was to her.
He turned right into the vacant parking lot and they walked hand-in-hand over to her grandparent’s tombstones. Mary allowed her tears to escape, allowing her eyes to tell her Poppa and Grandma a story she couldn’t tell with words. She hoped that they were proud of the young woman she had become. She thought of everything that they had missed and everything that she wanted them to see.
She stood and took her lovers hand in hers, and walked around to the front of the church, passing the large stained glass windows. They settled beneath the front steps as a large Oak tree provided them shade from the sun that was just barely peeking through the clouds, preparing for its slumber. Domingo reached in his pocket and got down on one knee.
Another moment, an inkling in time, a decision made by two people to fight for what they love… each other. And she said yes as he slipped the princess-cut diamond on her long finger.
Another page turned, another chapter started, another love saved all because two people battled for it.